For freshman, transfers and commuter students, fitting into new area and campus environment can be difficult.
Dale Fairclough, 24, computer science major, is a second bachelors student coming from Valencia twice a week.
“On a good day it’s 25 to 30 minutes,” Fairclough. “On a bad day, it can be up to an hour.”
Many transfers end up commuting, and feel like freshman all over again. While this may be alienating or difficult at first, some have found they enjoy the process.
Taking to professional involvement, Fairclough has joined clubs to help promote his field.
“Basically everything I’m doing is to promote professionalism. I joined a club called Layer 8. It’s a computer security club. It’s really fun with a great group of people. I’m trying to put out professional connections and networking, that type of thing,” said Fairclough
He believes the commuter life is easier if you are involved, and while it can be challenging to make connections in class, joining clubs can help.
“Once you’re out there participating, it builds pretty strong bonds,” Fairclough said.
While this may be alienating or difficult at first, some have found they enjoy the commute.
Jake Copesky, 26, liberal studies major and graduating senior, finds his time in the car to be “therapeutic” and a time for just himself.
Copesky comes from West Hollywood twice a week, and attended Santa Monica College (SMC) before this.
“Don’t worry about the commute. Everywhere in LA takes a little bit of time to get to,” Copesky said. “If you want to get involved with the CSUN community reach out to your fellow classmates and ask them to hang out.”
There are so many resources on campus to help students get involved, no matter their situation.
Shanell Tyus, events manager of the University Student Union (USU), has found that the campus “commuter label” is slowly fading as more students “come and stay,” giving this CSUN a chance to break past initial challenges.
As a place of social connection, the USU aims to get people involved. With so many possible ways, it’s hard to think that some students still feel left out or out of place.
“My advice is that this campus is so robust, and there really is always something going on… Whether it’s going in and a taking a group exercise class.. or maybe lectures are your thing, or open mic night and poetry. Maybe you’re a veteran, or an LGBTQ student if so, there are centers for you! Maybe you’re a quiet gamer, and are used to playing at home, on campus there is a games room for you,” said Tyus.
“[The USU is] the largest employer of students on campus,” Tyus said.
Josh Mandell, 28, junior, English major, also transferred from SMC and this is his second semester.
Living on the beach, he doesn’t find the commute to be bad.
“The commute doesn’t bother me because I have planned my classes in order to hit the road when there is little traffic… I don’t plan on moving closer because I very much enjoy living in Santa Monica,” Mandell said.
He does find parking to be a hassle at times and advises students to come early and seek involvement where they can.
“Sometimes I feel a bit disconnected from campus, such as it is hard to go the SRC often because I can’t just drive and work out there on any given day. Despite that, I have made a lot of friends in my major who commute and who transferred as well so we plan study groups or attend seminars together, which makes the experience more enjoyable,” Mandell said.
Mandell advises students, especially transfers to meet with advisement right away to make their transition better and plan to graduate more clear.
“This has made my life incredibly easier and I look forward to every semester,” he said.
The USU also offers health resources like the Living Well Lounge, where students can get free services like nutrition counseling, chair massages and more.
Designed to aid stress relief and inform students about health, this center aims to help you balance a busy college life.
The SOL Center also offers lounge areas on the first and second floor where students can just come and hang out, study, and relax.
There is so much to take advantage of no matter what your situation, or where you’re coming from. Whatever you’re into, there is something for you.
Working to help students get involved in whatever way they can, Tyus believes there is so much to be part of on campus.
“Our goal is not to do everything for everybody, but offer something for everyone,” said Tyus.